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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JULY 29: Grant Enfinger, driver of the #23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series TSport 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 29, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

ARCA Graduate of the Week: Grant Enfinger steals the show with a Truck Series win at IRP

It had been a winless run through the regular season for Grant Enfinger, but the 2015 ARCA Menards Series champion kicked off the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs in style by making a last-lap pass to win the Tsport 200 presented by Crescent Tools at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park last Friday.

Enfinger’s win was his first since a four-win season in 2020 that resulted in a final four appearance in the championship round at Phoenix Raceway.

Despite that run through the playoffs, Enfinger was relegated to a part-time role for 2021 and that eventually led him to depart ThorSport Racing to reunite with GMS Racing, the team with which he found the majority of his ARCA success.

It had been a slow start back aboard the GMS Racing Chevrolets, with a pair of finishes outside the top 20 to start the season. A string of top-10 finishes followed, including three top-three finishes in four races at Darlington, Kansas, and a runner-up finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But two more finishes outside the top 25 again slowed his progress towards the playoffs, including a 32nd-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway.

Seeded ninth in the playoffs, Enfinger fought for the lead throughout much of the 200-lap race, fighting side-by-side with Carson Hovevar for nearly 40 laps at the race’s midway point. Caution flags and pit strategy jumbled the field but Enfinger patiently worked his way back towards the head of the field.

He caught race leader Ty Majeski with 12 laps to go and led until the caution came out on lap 192 for a crash involving Hocevar and Colby Howard.

Enfinger pitted during the caution and dropped to eighth on the restart, but another caution for a spin by Taylor Gray set up another restart. Enfinger dropped to the bottom of the track and with new tires stole the lead from Zane Smith in turn one of the final lap to take the lead and the win.

Enfinger’s ARCA Menards Series career, to this point, has resulted in 16 victories. He started both 2014 and 2015 with three consecutive wins, and both seasons ended with six total victories. He finished 225 points behind 2014 champ Mason Mitchell in a season that saw him swap teams midway through the year after funding issues forced his Howard Bixman-owned operation to shut down.

He teamed with Maury Gallagher to finish out the season and scored two more wins, at Berlin and DuQuoin, setting the stage for a championship run in 2015.

Enfinger finished 445 points ahead of Austin Wayne Self, who was driving for Mason Mitchell Motorsports, to take the 2015 ARCA Menards Series championship. All told, he scored six wins, 13 top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes along with three poles.

Enfinger has made just a handful of ARCA Menards Series appearances since, giving Bret Holmes Racing its first win at Pocono in 2016 and then taking the Mike Allgaier-owned Chevrolet back to victory lane for the first time since Justin Allgaier’s championship run with a win at Springfield in 2017.

Enfinger is expected to return to Springfield to serve as crew chief for the Allgaier-owned No. 16 Chevrolet and long-time friend Kelly Kovski on Aug. 21.